Plastic People of the Universe

Obscure, legendary, definitively underground, and monumentally influential in at least one sense, Prague's Plastic People almost incidentally played a raging, anarchic brand of avant-garde rock. Outraged by their very freaky existence in the aftermath of the 1968 Soviet invasion of the former Czechoslovakia, Communist authorities became so obsessed with suppressing and persecuting the band that it became a cause célèbre, leading directly to the Velvet Revolution that tossed the Communist government out in 1989. Inspired by the likes of the Fugs, Velvet Underground, and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention (whose tune inspired the band's name), the Plastics were rather apolitical cultural renegades until encountering the government's wrath, then managed a virtually clandestine existence for the next two decades. The Plastics reformed in 1997 at the request of former fellow dissident playwright (and eventual Czech president) Vaclav Havel, and are now touring to mark their 40th anniversary. With at least three original members on board, the Plastics still play a vitally compelling and brash mix of vintage psychedelia, punk aggression, free jazz, Eastern European intrigue, and explosive rock 'n' roll.
Wed., Sept. 10, 7 p.m., 2008
 
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